Substance P*. (1 347,63 g/mol)
I’m a post-doc researcher currently working in the United States of ‘Merica. As far as I remember I always held feminist views, but landing in the US in a male-dominated lab/department, relatively out of my comfort zone got me more interested in all-things feminism. Gender dynamics are quite different here (I’m french), or maybe I am just exposed to more apha-male scientists than I used to. Also, this transition occurred not very long after the Moss-Racusin paper came out and made me realize the importance of unconscious bias, including my own. Anyway I started reading and thinking a lot about feminism and intersectionality in general, and women in science in particular. Now I’m counting women on every conference program and get angry about it. I notice every little details of the gender power game at play in my scientific (and personal) life and get angry, or frustrated about it. Actually, I started being angry at a lot of things, including myself. To be honest, I think I like a little bit being angry, somehow it also makes me feel stronger. And I can write about it…
So I started a blog in french with two scientist-friends almost a year ago, and I figured out it really helped to talk-think-write about the stuff we-women-in-science are facing : impostor syndrome, self-doubts, everyday sexism, quitting dreams, et tout le toutim (yes that’s fancy french for etc)(well, not so fancy). But I got frustrated about all the women-in-science news I was reading in English and didn’t have time to translate and comment, so I decided I was going to start not-having time to post and comment in english, too. I also felt I wanted to try and join the extremely dynamic english-speaking women-in-academia online community, to get support, and provide some whenever I could. So here’s From the Balcony… Work in progress. And please, excuse my english!
*Also a neuromodulator involved in the regulation of pain and vomitting. Perfect!
From the Balcony
Although the Ivory tower is not a particularly flattering metaphor for academia, I liked the image of women staying at the balcony while men enjoyed power-champagne on the rooftop. I was also picturing something very unsubtle like a glass elevator on the side for white men, and everybody else taking the stairs looping around the tower, with traps and missing steps, especially around the post-doc level (I guess “In The Pipeline” would have worked too) (Too bad my drawing skills do not live up to my imagination). Not so long after I started thinking about this name, at one of the main talks of my institution’s annual retreat, we heard a voice coming from a second floor I hadn’t noticed. Just behind the wooden balustrade, there she was, a student asking her question in a clear, confident way, from the balcony. Et voilà!